The door at the State Office of Elections closed at 4:30 p.m. Thursday. That was the deadline to have a petition handed in in order to have a political party placed on the ballot for this year’s election.
For the newly-formed Hawaii Independent Party, it was a close call. Less than 10 minutes before closing time, the party, which wants Mufi Hannemann to consider carrying its banner in this year’s race for Governor, turned in enough signatures to certify the Independents as a political party.
What usually takes at least two weeks to certify signatures took less than four hours to place the party on this year’s ballot.
The Hawaii Independent Party is led by co-chair Charmaine Tavares, the former Mayor of Maui, and Maui realtor Michelle del Rosario.
KHON2 news spoke to Hannemann just minutes before the last batch of petitions with signatures was turned into the State Office of Elections, and he said that three days ago, he did state that he would seriously consider running for Governor for the Hawaii Independent Party, if it had enough certified signatures on its petition.
Reaction to the possibility of Hannemann entering the race was swift from those who also want the job as Governor.
“We have a strategy to win the Democratic Primary, and that is our primary focus,” said state Sen. David Ige. “We’re confident that we will win the primary and move on to the general.”
Former Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona said, “Well, I’m not surprised. Mufi has run in several races for for different offices, so this doesn’t come as a surprise.
“It’s going to be a dog fight, no question about it,” he said.
The chairman for the campaign committee for the re-election of Gov. Neil Abercrombie released a statement which said, in part, that “we believe that Gov. Abercrombie’s achievements will win the support of voters in both the primary and general elections.”
If Hannemann does declare for governor under the Hawaii Independent Party, Democratic Party chairman Dante Carpenter told KHON2 that a complaint must be filed first before the party can act to determine the future of Hannemann’s membership with the Democratic Party.
KHON2 will continue to track this story to determine if Hannemann intends to run for Governor. The deadline for candidates to file for office is June 3.